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Thunder notebook: Thunder looks to make a statement on South Beach

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 15, 2011
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“You always have butterflies,” Perkins said. “You want to go out there and do well. But once I got out there I was cool.”

Perkins said returning against the Wizards, the second worst team in the NBA, was in part by design.

“I think you do got to get your feet wet a little bit before you just come back and feel like you're going to play against a team like Miami,” Perkins said. “Hopefully, now we go into Miami with the right mindset and do what we got to do.”

HIGH PRAISE FOR WESTBROOK

Even before Westbrook shredded his team for 18 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and four steals, Wizards coach Flip Saunders had high praise for the Thunder's point guard.

When a reporter attempted to look ahead to the Wizards' game against Chicago on Tuesday and the point guard matchup between John Wall and Derrick Rose before Monday's game between the Thunder and Wizards, Saunders quickly turned his attention to Westbrook.

“You can't worry about Rose right now,” Saunders said of Wall. “He's got to worry about Westbrook, who I think is the best all-around guard in our league. When you look at everything he does, from a standpoint of defensively, creating steals, rebounding the basketball, being able to score in the open floor (and) athletically.”

PERKINS CALLS OUT PAU

At his introductory news conference in Oklahoma City, Perkins said he disliked “everything” about Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Apparently, the Thunder's big man went a step further in an interview with ESPN.

According to ESPN's Sam Alipour, Perkins called Gasol soft, while also taking shots at Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

“I don't like a lot of the Lakers,” Perkins is quoted as saying. “I don't like Phil Jackson. Phil is very arrogant.”

Perkins continued.

“Pau is soft; trying to be something he's not,” Perkins is quoted as saying. “He's not a tough guy but he tries to be just because he's on a team with Kobe (Bryant). Kobe tries to bring out his toughness but he's still soft.”

DURANT REACHES MINOR MILESTONE

With 32 points Monday, Durant has now scored at least 30 points in 100 games as a pro. He becomes the fifth-fastest player since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976-77 to reach 100 career 30-point games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Durant has played 298 career games.

QUOTABLE

Miami forward Chris Bosh on Kevin Durant calling him a “fake tough guy” after the two teams last met — “All that stuff is squared away. That was in the heat of the moment. He made some comments after the game probably when he was upset. That's no big deal. We talked about it. It's pretty much over and done with.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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